MSA holds elections and transitions to new term

The outgoing president reflected on his term and MSA’s success.

Cody Nelson

In its last forum of the year, the Minnesota Student Association reflected on the past year and prepared for the future.

President Taylor Williams spoke about accomplishments of the year, including medical amnesty legislation and a voter registration event with a high turnout.

MSA also voted Mick Hedberg to be its new speaker of the forum and elected several other University of Minnesota students to leadership positions.

In his final speech to the forum, Williams talked about MSA’s success in pushing medical amnesty legislation — one of the main goals of his campaign last spring.

The bill, which would legally protect underage drinkers from punishment if they are seeking medical attention for themselves or others, has passed committees in the Minnesota House and Senate.

Williams said the measure — which is expected to pass — was the first time MSA and the Minnesota Student Legislative Coalition wrote legislation “from scratch” and got it introduced to the Legislature.

Engagement with MSA was another goal for Williams, he said.

MSA’s membership nearly tripled this year, Williams said, partly due to the internship program that brought more than 20 freshmen to the student association.

Last fall’s election also brought highlights to MSA’s year.

Williams and MSA came out against constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriage and require voter ID.

“Those amendments, if passed, would have been detrimental to our student body,” he said.

MSA also sponsored a voter registration event, Voterpalooza, during which they registered more than 500 University students to vote.

Though MSA-supported initiatives for open-textbook legislation didn’t get footing this session, Williams said student government will continue pushing the cause in the Legislature.

Hedberg said he wants MSA to have more diversity in its outreach efforts.

“There are other groups on campus that represent the types of diversity we want,” he said.

Traditionally, the speaker of the forum is charged with ensuring MSA forums and procedures run smoothly.

After his election, Hedberg took over the forum, and elections were held for new committee directors and other student government representative spots.

Connie Dong was voted to lead MSA’s Grants Committee, and Alex Cole will take control of the Facilities, Housing and Transit Committee.

Olive Martin and Valkyrie Jensen were also elected as directors of the Student Outreach and Engagement and University Policies and Student Concerns committees, respectively.